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Page last updated at 20:05 GMT, Monday, 25 May 2009 21:05 UK

Duff pledges future to Newcastle

Damien Duff
Duff spent seven years at Blackburn and three with Chelsea

Newcastle winger Damien Duff has vowed to remain at St James' Park and hopes Alan Shearer will remain as manager.

Duff's own goal at Aston Villa sealed Newcastle's relegation and the 30-year-old said: "I'm devastated. I don't know what words can describe the way I feel.

"I'm as loyal as they come and, whether the gaffer stays or goes, I'd love to try to get Newcastle back up.

"If there's one man to get us back up it's Alan Shearer. I've loved working with him and it's been a proper club."

It is the second time Duff has experienced relegation, having been part of the Blackburn squad that went down in the 1998-99 season.

"When it happened at Blackburn, I wasn't planning on seeing it again in my career. It's not a nice feeling," said the Republic of Ireland international, who joined Newcastle from Chelsea in 2006.

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"No disrespect to the Championship but Newcastle are too big a club to be down there. I plan on being straight back up after next season."

To compound the misery, it was Duff's own goal that confirmed the Magpies' exit from the top flight and he admitted: "You think, 'why me?'.

"But I'm a big man and I've been around for a while now, so I'm going to have to get over it.

"I'll be thinking about it for a long, long time but what can you do? That's football. You can't dwell on disappointments in your career. You have to move on."

Shearer took temporary charge at Newcastle in April but the club won only four points from his eight matches at the helm.

"I think he's been brilliant even though we haven't got the results to keep us up," stated Duff.

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"It's the first time in a long while that this place has felt like a proper football club. Things are done right and it's been a breath of fresh air. It's just disappointing we couldn't stay up for him and the fans."

Newcastle defender Steven Taylor, who came through the academy system at the club, said: "The dressing room was like a funeral afterwards. Everybody was devastated.

"It's the worst feeling I've had as a professional footballer. It's the worst day in our careers.

"I've got the European Championships with England Under-21s to focus on now. That's all I can do but this is something I'll never, ever forget.

"The 3,000 Newcastle fans who came down to Villa Park are the reason you play.

"It's got to be an honour to play for Newcastle United Football Club. I know there will be changes but I don't know what's going to happen. As players, we haven't got a clue but I'd just ask the fans to stick with us next year."

Meanwhile, Magpies midfielder Jonas Gutierrez said he would put off any decision about his future until after Argentina's World Cup qualifiers against Colombia and Ecuador.

"Right now, the main thing is the national team. I want to make my contribution to the team, be with the guys and I hope I can play," he told TyC Sports cable channel.

"Once the qualifiers pass, we'll see what will happen with my future."



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see also
Shearer non-committal over future
25 May 09 |  Premier League
Aston Villa 1-0 Newcastle
24 May 09 |  Premier League
Newcastle's season of misery
24 May 09 |  Newcastle
What now for north-east football?
24 May 09 |  Football
Premier League as it happened
24 May 09 |  Football
Premier League photos
24 May 09 |  Premier League


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